This final place, and regional stakes, will be decided this weekend at Legion Field in Marshall.
Tea Willmar shines, Paynesville Pirates, Regal eagles and Marshal A’s will look to win back-to-back matches on Saturday to officially place their name on the upcoming state tournament console. The winner of that quartet will join the Bird Island Bullfrogs and Milroy Yankees when the State C tournament begins in August. 20-22 at Waconia, Chaska and Hamburg.
After finishing the first round with a 1-1 split, lost on Saturday but winning on Sunday, Willmar Rails’ coach Dustin Overcash discussed how his team feels leading in their first must-win match on Saturday against Paynesville, a team Rails has defeated earlier this season, 10-0 June 9th.
“Everyone is excited, but there are going to be nerves,” he said. “I’m sure there will be a lot of nerves by Saturday morning. But there is also a lot of excitement. ”
The Rails lost their first match in the 4C Region tournament 5-2 against Regal August. 7. However, when the tournament was double-elimination, the Rails jumped back the next day with an 11-4 victory over Atwater.
Should Willmar win Game 1 on Saturday, the Rails split against Marshall during the regular season and could have a potential rematch against Regal to advance to the State Tournament in Game 2.
Overcash says that the team primarily focuses on their defensive performance rather than on batting.
“Simple and easy, we just have to make sure we play the best defense we can. You can not lose a game when you do not give up any races, “he said. “We just have to play well defensively, and hopefully we can claw together a couple of races and take care of the business.”
Overcash says that the team is exclusively focused on defense after making important mistakes in the loss last Friday.
“As long as we play a good defense, these mistakes do not happen and we should have a good match against both teams,” he said.
Willmar is looking for his first state berth since 2003 while Paynesville hopes to get on the field for the first time since 1983. Regal hopes to make a repeat state trip after qualifying in 2020 while Marshall has not gone since 2010.
Despite being in unknown territory, Rails is exclusively focused on Paynesville on Saturday.
“If we do not take care of the business in the first match and lose, we are done. So we just have to focus on winning the first match, says Overcash.
With Rails having a balanced roster and a strong chemistry, Overcash strongly believes that the team wants to win, not only for themselves as individuals, but for the team.
– This season has been fun. We have a good mix of young and old. When I say old, I mean the upper 20s, and everyone gets along very well, he said. – Everyone plays very well together. It has been one of those seasons where we have achieved more every single year since I started running this team.
“When you achieve more. Baseball is more fun. ”